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For the second time, New York a Race to the Top finalist

This just in, via the U.S. Education Department’s Twitter feed: New York is one of the 19 finalists in the second round of the Race to the Top competition.

New York was one of 16 finalists in the first round of competition, but then came in 15th in the final scoring. Only two states, Delaware and Tennessee, won grants in the first round of the contest.

For this round, Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said that there are likely to be 10 to 15 winners of the competitive grant money. New York could be in a better position to win the $700 million grant this round after legislative wrangling last spring resulted in a new teacher evaluation system and a lift on the number of charter schools allowed to open statewide.

The other finalists are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Carolina.

In a few minutes, Duncan will formally announce the finalists during a speech at the National Press Club. We’ll have more on the announcement later in the afternoon.

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